A couple of months ago we found ourselves seriously impressed by BenQ’s W1200 DLP projector. Especially taking into consideration its £1,200 price tag.
So we’re intrigued to say the least to find ourselves sat down today with another new BenQ model, the W1100, that seems to have been based on the same chassis, but which costs only £828. This makes it a potentially hugely attractive proposition - especially as one of the main differences between the W1100 and W1200 is that the cheaper model doesn’t have a frame interpolation system sported by the W1200, which video purists probably wouldn’t use anyway!
Aesthetically the W1100 is identical to the W1200. Which isn’t a bad thing if you’re not sitting too close to it, as its combination of glossy white and matte grey colours works nicely, as do its rounded edges and the gentle lens-accommodating ‘hump’ on its top edge. The only catch is that closer inspection finds its build quality looking and feeling a tad flimsy.
The W1100 also enjoys the same connections as the W1200, namely two (v1.3) HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232C jack, a monitor output, a component video input, a composite video input, an S-Video input, a USB service port, both RCA and 3.5mm audio inputs, and a 12V trigger output for, say, driving a motorised screen. This amounts to a very satisfactory set of connections for the W1100’s price level.
Inside the W1100, meanwhile, you can find a 4-speed, six-segment (RGBRGB) colour wheel, and a DarkChip 2 (DC2) DLP chipset from Texas Instruments. These tools, in conjunction with the 230W lamp and other optics, are reckoned to turn out a very high maximum brightness of 2000 ANSI Lumens, plus a solid claimed contrast ratio of 4500:1.
It should be noted that the W1200 claims a higher contrast ratio of 5000:1 and lower brightness of 1800 Lumens - differences that actually point towards quite obvious differences in image quality, as we’ll discover later.
While we’re on the subject of W1100/W1200 differences, the cheaper model lacks the proprietary colour-boosting coating found on the W1200’s colour wheel - though both models feature full 10-bit colour processing.
One other surprising internal spec of the W1100 concerns its audio. Most budget projectors sport some sort of built-in audio system, so that casual users can just set the projector up wherever and whenever they like and still enjoy sound to go with their pictures. However, as well as producing sound that’s spatially distant from the pictures they’re supposed to accompany, the speakers built into projectors are usually pathetically underpowered. Remarkably, though, the W1100 - like the W1200 - claims 2x10W of output power for its integrated speakers, and even carries SRS TruSurround processing to make its soundstage appear more expansive.